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Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

What Kind of Democrat is Rahm Emanuel?

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What Kind of Democrat is Rahm Emanuel?

We all know our mayor-elect is a Democrat, but we also know there’s more than one kind of Democrat. There are Blu- Dog Democrats, Progressive Democrats, New Democrats, Social Democrats.

The Pew Research Center For the People & Press realizes that American politics is not as bipolar as Fox News and MSNBC would like us to believe. The Center has an online “Beyond Red and Blue” quiz that allows voters to find their place on the political spectrum, from Staunch Conservative to Solid Liberal.

I decided to take the 20-question test on Rahm Emanuel’s behalf, using his public statements as the basis for our answers. We won’t go through the entire list, but here are some viewpoints we’re pretty confident Emanuel holds:

  • I’m generally satisfied with the way things are going for me financially.
  • Paying the bills is generally not a problem for me.
  • The largest companies do NOT have too much power.
  • Religion is a very important part of my life.
  • Most corporations make a fair and reasonable amount of profit.
  • Immigrants today strengthen our country because of their hard work and talents.
  • Homosexuality should be accepted by society.
  •  Government is almost always wasteful and inefficient.

You may disagree with our interpretation of Emanuel, but based on the result, I think we nailed him. According to the quiz, Emanuel is a “New Coalition Democrat.” Here’s Pew’s description of that type.

Strongly pro-government.
Upbeat about the country's ability to solve problems and an individual's ability to get ahead through hard work.
Approve of regulation and environmental protection.
More positive about business than other Democratic-oriented groups.
Generally liberal on racial issues.
Hospitable to immigrants: 78% believe they strengthen society.
Very religious and socially conservative.

The New Coalition Democrat, of course, is exemplified by Bill Clinton, Emanuel’s mentor in national politics. Clinton succeeded as president by finding a “third way” between traditional liberalism and conservatism. He was willing to sign free trade agreements and welfare reform laws that an older generation of Democrats would have resisted, and he famously declared, “the era of big government is over.” When Emanuel was head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, he also charted a middle course that disappointed some liberals, by recruiting pro-life Democrats to run in conservative districts.

 To find out your political type, take the quiz here

Buy this book! Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland's book, Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President , is available Amazon. Young Mr. Obama includes reporting on President Obama's earliest days in the Windy City, covering how a presumptuous young man transformed himself into presidential material. Buy it now!

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